Monday 12 November 2012

#MixtapeMonday - Juliyaa: Stars N Dragons

Lyrics: 3.0/ 5.0 - Production: 4.0/5.0 - Overall Score: 3.1/5.0

Review by Reesh - Follow me on Twitter! I won't bite! Well, maybe a little - @MrReesh

Being born on the same day of the week as Juliyaa, a Thursday, I can't help but feel me and her share a very special bond, that of those lucky enough to not be born on a Monday but not quite lucky enough to be born on a Friday. However I will remain professional; no birth-day-of-the-week-favouritism – which is why I’m able to say that Stars N Dragons is not only average, but frustratingly average

Now I like Juliyaa; her earlier songs Smile and The Rhythm have purchased some long term mortgage-free real estate on my iPod, which is why I was so confused by the quality of Stars N Dragons

Probably the cutest fish face ever made by a fish
The mixtape starts off with a simple poem, Thursday Born (brap brap), set against a relaxing slow synth sound you can rather convincingly replicate with your mouth while making ultra sexy fish faces. The poem ends up being okay, and unfortunately manages to set expectations high for the oncoming piece. The next track Tidal Wave, though wonderfully produced ultimately ends up being disappointing, with a strangely empty chorus and chopped ending that just feels lazy and robotic. The lyrics are decent, but to me delivery is just not quite there. Like Magic is a better effort, and even with such painfully obvious lines like "we go on and on (...) until the break of dawn" it successfully gives the lighthearted party vibe it seeks to create. Additionally, Stars & Dragons is definitely enjoyable, with a lively instrumental and great cadence that makes the song joyful, vibrant and alive in celebration of Juliyaa’s heritage (half Ghanaian and half Welsh, hence STARS and DRAGONS).

However Element provided the major low point for me. Though the track is clearly meant to be a club banger, it lacks a consistent feel of pace until the heavy hitting drums come in for BBK’s Frisco’s verse, which itself is very much average and lacking the same liquid delivery as that of Keepin’ It G’D Up or his F64s. But for the LOLs you can kind of sing along with the guy in the chorus and say “I wanna see your element elephant, elephant”. Simple pleasures.

But then there’s the amazing ballad IWIHIA (I Wish I Had It All). Seriously bro: what the hell? It’s HERE, 5 out of 6 songs in that Juliyaa shows you that she can really sing, write and deliver, and very quickly this becomes the song you switch to whenever Stars N Dragons pokes its head out from shuffle on your mp3 player. In fact, the song is of such high quality it sounds bizarre amongst the other average Joe songs, causing you to feel a little frustrated that the rest of the songs aren’t up to the standard this one sets.

Planet Krispy Kreme (original glazed form)
In the end, Stars N Dragons ends up being decent – but it had so much potential! Juliyaa clearly has talent, you can’t dispute that, but for the majority of the mixtape she just chooses to exercise that talent to create merely mediocre songs, which is upsetting. Sad face. Still it’s worth a download, especially as that’s currently the only way to get IWIHIA and Stars & Dragons which are easily the best songs on the mixtape, IWIHIA being the kind of beautiful, heartwarming song you hear when you look up at the stars and dream about a planet made of Krispy Kremes – and I know I’m not the only one that does that... right?

My Top 3:
2) Stars & Dragons
3) Like Magic

Juliyaa on Twitter: @JuliyaaMusic

Photo credit:
Goldfish - "NEW FISH!!! #2" by Benson Kua

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